The best books I read In 2021

Sarah-015

This past year we opened Centered, our online writing community. Centered is structured to guide writers through the creative cycle, and I curated our monthly workshops and gatherings thematically. These themes touch on the beats of story structure and the energy of a year with four seasons.

If you’ve been on my list this year, then you know that I recommended books each month, according to each theme. At the start of the year, I was recommending one book every week (I was feeling sassy in early 2021!). As the year went on, and our collective exhaustion became more and more apparent, I began recommending two books a month. By the end of this year, I selected only one book each month.

What follows is a complete list of all of my recommended reading from 2021. 

Note: these books are not new releases; rather, they are talismans and allies that guide us through the different facets of a creative life, and support us as needed in our personal story cycle.

Before you check out the list, I would like to add one more unsolicited recommendation: get yourself a Kobo eReader! I got one this year and I’ve never turned back. 

Whether you love reading books on paper or eReader, here is my list of reading recommendations from 2021.


  Sarah Selecky


The Best Books I Read In 2021

You can also download the list here.  

 

January: Rest

Books to pick up before and after a nap. Read for recovery.

To Bless The Space Between Us, by John O'Donohue
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com

How To Relax, by Thich Nhat Hanh
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com

How To Not Always Be Working, by Marlee Grace
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com

Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu, translated by Ursula K. LeGuin
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, by Chris Van Allsburg
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com  


February: Friendship

Titles about friends. Intense and radical support. Chosen family.

The Weekend, by Charlotte Wood
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com

Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close, by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com

My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com

The Heroine’s Journey, by Gail Carriger
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com  

 

March: Commitment

Books for major decisions. Support for a long and fruitful journey.

In|Appropriate, by Kim Davids Mandar
Amazon.com

The 90-Day Rewrite, by Alan Watt
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com

The Broken Earth Trilogy, by N. K. Jemisin
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com 

The Shades of Magic Trilogy, by V. E. Schwab
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com

The Four Tendencies, by Gretchen Rubin
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com  


April: Courage

Reading to help you when the inspiration dips. It’s harder than it looks. Keep going.

The Street: A Novel, by Ann Petry
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com

Daring Greatly, by Brené Brown
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com  


May: Wonder

Books that remind you to be amazed. Magic happens.

World of Wonders, by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com

The Enchanted Life: Unlocking The Magic of The Everyday, by Sharon Blackie
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com

Here Is Real Magic, by Nate Staniforth
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com  


June: Flow

Books that remind you that it doesn’t have to be so hard.

The Art of Is, by Stephen Nachmanovitch
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com

Flow, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com  


July: Wellness

Books that teach you how to take care of yourself.

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com

Movement Matters, by Katie Bowman
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com  


August: Passion

Books that show you how to bring your whole self to the project. Pleasure and freedom.

No Plan B, by Heather Thorkelson
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com

Pleasure Activism, by Adrienne Maree Brown
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com  


September: Resilience

How we pick ourselves up and keep going, without feeling destroyed by the process.

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent, by Isabel Wilkerson
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com  

 

October: Shadow

How to access the power of our unconscious. Digging deep.

Existential Kink, by Carolyn Elliott
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com  

 

November: Influence

Read what you wish you could write.

The Measure of My Powers, by Jackie Kai Ellis
Kobo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com




Photo credit: Tara McMullen

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something using one of these links, I may earn a commission. I only recommend books or products I trust.


What is a good burden?
Reflection & respect: What really happened this year?

1 comment

Jule Gabrielli

Sarah - thank you for this terrific list! Just finished Elissa Washuta's "White Magic" (highly recommend) -- she references Staniforth's book! On the eReader, which one do you have? I love making notes in my books . . .
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